The Course / The Decorative Arts of Europe (1500-2000) Silver 4/8

January 31, 2019 @ 12:45 pm – 12:45 pm
The Course at The University Womens Club
2 Audley Square
Mayfair, London W1K
Mary Bromley
020 7266 7815

Established in 1994, The Course offers exciting Art History, Literature and Music lectures.

In this 8 part series, we will see how in the European tradition, the status of “fine art” tends to be much higher than that of the “decorative arts” though the beauty and virtuosity of the latter can be spell-binding. This is why we have a “temple” to fine art in the centre of London – the National Gallery – while “everything else” is in the Victoria and Albert Museum – which was on the fringes of London when it was built. The difference is also reflected in the huge gap between the market prices of the two arts. Why are the decorative arts undervalued in this way and what are their virtues? This series of lectures explores this intriguing subject.

The Art and Craft of the Silversmith

Because the very materials of gold and silver were used as currency for much of their history, the status of goldsmiths was always high and their products were often splendid. But precisely because silver objects were often regarded as a form of money, they were frequently melted down in times of need. The legacy of goldsmiths throughout the ages is intertwined with the history of aristocratic taste and patronage.